An investigation has been set up into the use of police helicopters at the scene of the Grenfell Tower fire, after a bereaved relative complained that they could have fanned the flames.
The police watchdog said on Wednesday that it would manage an investigation into the complaint, which included a claim that some people were encouraged to stay in the building because the presence of the helicopters led them to believe they would be rescued.
“In the months since the horrifying fire at Grenfell Tower, there has rightly been a determination that all aspects of the tragedy should be properly scrutinised in the interests of survivors, the families of those who died and the wider public,” said Sarah Green, deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission(IPCC).
“While there is, at present, no indication that any police officer may have committed misconduct or a criminal offence, I have decided it is appropriate for this complaint to be investigated.”
The IPCC said the investigation would be carried out by Scotland Yard, and IPCC investigators would have oversight and powers of direction and control.
It has the option of asking a force to investigate claims itself, to supervise an investigation – which involves setting the terms of reference and deciding whether or not they have been met – or managing the investigation.
In some cases it can run an entirely independent investigation, using only its own staff.
The IPCC said its decision to manage this investigation would “ensure a coordinated approach which does not undermine or delay” the broader police investigation into the fire.
Besides that criminal investigation, the coroner is holding inquests and there is a public inquiry into the disaster.
The IPCC said: “The use of police helicopters is coordinated by the National Police Air Service, which is operated on behalf of police forces in England and Wales by West Yorkshire police.